The Israeli Air Force is trying to cement its status as the world leader in remote-controlled aircraft use and is hosting a large, multinational drone exercise in central Israel this month that it describes as unprecedented.
“This is the first time that we meet with drone operators from all over the world, carry out missions together, complicated missions to support ground troops, to find and defeat enemies, for joint operations with manned and remote-controlled aircraft,” says Brig. General Yoav Amiram, commander of IAF Palmachim Airbase, where the exercise took place.
The exercise, called the Blue Guardian, began on July 12th and ends today. The exercise involved teams from Israel, the United States, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom operating IAF Hermes-450 unmanned aircraft.
Amiram says the military relied largely on the Air Force’s drone expertise during the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip in May.
According to IDF figures, during the 11-day battle known as Operation Guardian of the Walls, remotely piloted aircraft conducted 643 drone sorties that accumulated 6,231 flight hours, meaning an average of at least two dozen unmanned aerial vehicles in the air over Gaza. were at every point in the campaign.
“The UAV array performed over 6,000 hours of flight time during Operation Guardian of the Walls, maintained operational continuity with many aircraft over the Strip, and essentially enabled the Air Force and the entire IDF to operate on a complicated, populated battlefield in which we need to find the enemy and minimize collateral damage, ”says Amiram.
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